Adam and Eve: The Fall of Satan

Part of this story depends on the Hebrew alphabet, which begins with aleph, bet, and so on (the Greeks borrowed the idea of the alphabet from the Semitic alphabet of the Phoenicians, hence the similarity: aleph-bet and alphabet). The animals appear before Adam in an order that matches that of the alphabet; it would be as if God presented Adam with an aardvard, a badger, a cat, etc., whose names begin with the letters of the alphabet in order. You can read more at Wikipedia about the Hebrew alphabet and about the origin of alphabets in general.

[Notes by LKG]

This story is part of the Adam and Eve unit. Story source: The Legends of the Jews by Louis Ginzberg (1909).

The Fall of Satan

(for audio, see previous page)



The extraordinary qualities with which Adam was blessed, physical and spiritual as well, aroused the envy of the angels. They attempted to consume him with fire, and he would have perished, had not the protecting hand of God rested upon him, and established peace between him and the heavenly host.

In particular, Satan was jealous of the first man, and his evil thoughts finally led to his fall.

After Adam had been endowed with a soul, God invited all the angels to come and pay him reverence and homage. Satan, the greatest of the angels in heaven, with twelve wings, instead of six like all the others, refused to pay heed to the behest of God, saying, "Thou didst create us angels from the splendor of the Shekinah, and now Thou dost command us to cast ourselves down before the creature which Thou didst fashion out of the dust of the ground!"

God answered, "Yet this dust of the ground has more wisdom and understanding than thou."

Satan demanded a trial of wit with Adam, and God assented thereto, saying: "I have created beasts, birds, and reptiles, I shall have them all come before thee and before Adam. If thou art able to give them names, I shall command Adam to show honor unto thee, and thou shalt rest next to the Shekinah of My glory. But if not, and Adam calls them by the names I have assigned to them, then thou wilt be subject to Adam, and he shall have a place in My garden, and cultivate it." Thus spake God, and He betook Himself to Paradise, Satan following Him.

When Adam beheld God, he said to his wife, "O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker."

Now Satan attempted to assign names to the animals. He failed with the first two that presented themselves, the ox and the cow. God led two others before him, the camel and the donkey, with the same result.

Then God turned to Adam, and questioned him regarding the names of the same animals, framing His questions in such wise that the first letter of the first word was the same as the first letter of the name of the animal standing before him. Thus Adam divined the proper name, and Satan was forced to acknowledge the superiority of the first man.

Nevertheless he broke out in wild outcries that reached the heavens, and he refused to do homage unto Adam as he had been bidden. The host of angels led by him did likewise, in spite of the urgent representations of Michael, who was the first to prostrate himself before Adam in order to show a good example to the other angels.

Michael addressed Satan: "Give adoration to the image of God! But if thou doest it not, then the Lord God will break out in wrath against thee."

Satan replied: "If He breaks out in wrath against me, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will be like the Most High!"

At once God flung Satan and his host out of heaven, down to the earth, and from that moment dates the enmity between Satan and man.

Next: Lilith

(500 words)




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